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Used Buyer's Guide: Audi A3 Cabriolet

With a new car on the way, this classy convertible looks better than ever used

While the A3 Cabriolet is soon to be replaced, the outgoing model still feels very well screwed together, and it offers a lot of style for the money. However, the cabin design is starting to feel dated and there are cheaper alternatives available. Running costs can also be high, although as the A3 Cabriolet uses a fabric hood rather than a retractable metal top, it’s reasonably practical. While some convertible rivals are more entertaining from behind the wheel, a selection of superb engines means that the Audi should prove a great companion for the summer months – and beyond.

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We adore convertibles in the UK, and buyers here are also in love with premium marques such as Audi. Combine the two, and you should have a car that’s hugely desirable – especially if it’s got four-seat practicality.

So it’s no surprise that the Audi A3 Cabriolet has been a success for Audi, with more than 17,000 finding UK homes over the past five years. And as the car is set to bow out shortly, it makes a great summer used buy – but you’ll need at least £10,000 to get into one.

History

Although the second-generation Audi A3 arrived here in May 2003, the Cabriolet didn’t turn up for another five years. Initially there was a 1.6-litre petrol engine, 1.8 and 2.0 TFSI petrol turbos and 1.9 and 2.0 TDI diesels. Trims comprised standard, Sport or S line.

By July 2009 a 1.6 TDI had arrived, promising 114g/km CO2 emissions and 65.7mpg economy. The introduction of stop-start on the 2.0 TDI in November 2009 cut CO2 to 119g/km, then in May 2010 a 1.2 TFSI came along.

With an all-new A3 Cabriolet on the way, a Final Edition debuted this year in Sport and S line forms.

Alternatives

The A3’s closest rival is the VW Golf Cabriolet, but it’s rare as it didn’t appear until last year. It’s more spacious and also powered by some brilliant engines, so is desirable but costly. VW’s Eos coupé-cabrio is cheaper, more common and a very slick choice.

The BMW 1 Series Convertible is great to drive and has great engines, yet prices are high. The MINI MkII Convertible is getting on a bit and is poorly packaged, but it’s neat and fun. The Volvo C70 is worth a look, too; it’s good value, stylish, safe and roomy.

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